The Impossible Guide to Omega-3
Table of Contents
Omega-3 or fish oil is a really important supplement. It’s not 100% necessary to take it if you’re eating tons of cold water fish and quality grass-fed meat but if you’re not, it’s one of the only supplements I recommend.
Let’s dive in deeper and see what’s so great about fish oil in The Impossible Guide to Omega-3.
Fish Oil & Omega-3 Supplement Index
- What Is Omega-3/Fish Oil?
- Why Take Fish Oil?
- Fish Oil Benefits
- What Sources of Omega-3 Are There?
- Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil
- The Science behind Omega-3
- Fish Oil Side Effects
- DHA & EPA
- Fish Oil Costs
- Where To Buy Omega-3
- Fish Oil Absorption
- Fish Oil Reviews
- Fish Oil Sources & References
What Is Omega-3/Fish Oil?
The terms “fish oil” and “omega-3s” are often used interchangeably. Omega-3s are the compound you take as a supplement and fish oil is the primary source of this supplement (although there are others that we’ll mention below).
Chemically, Omega-3 is a fatty acid that’s essential for your body. It has numerous heath benefits.
Why Take Fish Oil?
Omega-3s are found naturally in grass-fed meat, seafood, and fish. However, most people do not eat sufficient quantities of these foods and so do not get the amount of omega-3s that their bodies need.
Also, it can be tough to find quality meats and seafood. Fish oil or omega-3 supplements can help you to get the amount of omega-3s that your body needs.
Most people consume too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3. Having too much omega-6 relative to omega-3 can cause inflammation. By taking omega-3s, you’re able to bring that ratio back into balance and reduce inflammation.
Fish Oil Benefits
Why bother taking fish oil or omega-3 supplements?
“After decades of studying omega-3 fatty acids, it’s clear that they have value in primary prevention of heart disease” – Medical News Today
Fish oil promotes fat loss and muscle growth. It also improves insulin sensitivity, which is instrumental in minimizing fat storage and promoting fat burning.
Fish oil can help with everything from acne to cancer and has “been shown to improve visual acuity; improve cognitive function and reduce dementia; reduce inflammation and perhaps some types of cancer, such as colon cancer; and reduce total mortality.” – Donald Jump
What Sources of Omega-3 Are There?
Well, to start with, fish oil!
As we mentioned earlier, omega-3 is often found in grass-fed meat and in cold water fish (salmon, bass, cod, trout). Another quality source of omega-3s is krill oil, which is a similar supplement.
Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil
Krill oil, huh?
Yup, it’s made from the things that whales, dolphins, and penguins eat.
So how does krill oil stack up when compared to fish oil? Well, the two are very similar. While some sources out there say krill oil is much better than fish oil, they’re taking other criteria into consideration. In this guide, we’re only concerned with omega-3.
Wherever you choose to get your omega-3s, just be sure that you’re actually taking them.
The Science behind Omega-3
Most western diets are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids and contain excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids. This uneven ratio leads to many diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other autoimmune diseases. Increasing omega-3 levels has been shown to reduce the risk of these diseases.
Most diets are as unbalanced as 15-16 omega-6s for every 1 omega-3. It’s safe to say that by taking omega-3 supplements, you’re going to offset that uneven ratio. A ratio of 2:1 has been shown to be sufficient to reduce inflammation and to protect you from some common diseases (NCBI).
Fish Oil Side Effects
The main side effect you’ll experience as a result of taking of fish oil is an extra boost of sexy. In all seriousness, there are very few side effects associated with fish oil. It’s a naturally occurring chemical that you’re simply getting more of. Some fish oil supplements may cause you to have funny tasting burps immediately after you take them, but that is about it.
Excessive amounts of 0mega-3 can thin your blood, but as long as you maintain a 1:1 omega-6 : omega-3 ratio, you should be fine.
DHA & EPA
You’ll see “DHA”, “EPA”, and some numbers on the packaging of any omega-3/fill oil supplements you buy. Here’s what these letters mean.
Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)
EPA is an inhibitor of an omega-6 aracidonic acid (AA). This limits the amount of inflammation that AA can cause. EPA is also especially beneficial for treating neurological conditions, such as depression and brain trauma.
Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)
DHA is a larger chain of acids that helps prevent cancer cell survival and that makes it harder for inflammation signals to trigger. It also indirectly helps inhibit (AA) as well.
There’s no specified ideal ratio of DHA:EPA. The main thing is to make sure you’re getting a decent amount of both. The amount of DHA plus the amount of EPA in your supplement is the amount of fish oil you have.
Fish Oil Costs
Fish oil costs can vary based on brand and dosage. While it’s true that you often get what you pay for, it’s worth looking at brands and ingredients on a case-by-case basis.
Daily fish oil needed/fish oil per serving size = X # of servings
Cost of container/number of servings per container = Y cost/serving
X x Y = daily cost of brand
Where To Buy Omega-3
Primal Blueprint Fish Oil
- EPA – 300 mg
- DHA – 200 mg
- Cost – $24.95
Fish Oil Absorption
To make things a little more complicated, it’s not just about how much fish oil you’re consuming. It’s about how much fish oil your body can absorb. If you’re eating tons of fish oil but your body can’t utilize it, it’s not doing you much good, is it?
To maximize your absorption of fish oil, it’s a good idea to take your fish oil supplements in conjunction with some sort of fatty foods (this may also help prevent any fish burps you might otherwise experience).
Fish Oil Reviews
We’ll be posting reviews of various fish oil brands here. Check back soon as we’re continually updating this list.
- DHA – 300 mg
- EPA – 400 mg
- Cost – $19.90
- Buy here
- EPA – 360 mg
- DHA – 120 mg
- Other – 120 mg
- Total fish oil – 600 mg
- Cost – $17.99
- Buy here
- DHA – 543 mg
- EPA – 815 mg
- Cost – $24.99
- Buy here
- DHA & EPA – various
- Cost – various
- Buy here
- DHA and EPA – not specified
- Cost – $6
- Buy here
Costco/Kirkland Fish Oil – 300 mg
- EPA and DHA – not specified
- Cost – $7.99
- Buy here
- DHA – 540 mg
- EPA – 350 mg
- Cost – $22.99
- Buy here
Fish Oil Sources & References
- Rapid Fire Q&A: Fish Oil Guide Follow Up – Mark’s Daily Apple
- The Definitive Guide to Fish Oils – Mark’s Daily Apple
- How Fish Oil Supplements Can Help You Lose Weight – Lifehack
- High omega-3 fat intake improves insulin sensitivity and reduces CRP and IL6, but does not affect other endocrine axes in healthy older adults